Ames Tourist Court

In 1926 John W. Ogle operated what may be the earliest tourist court in Iowa at 318 East Lincoln Way.  This was the first motel in Ames and is at this time the longest running motel in Iowa.  The 1932 Hobbs Guide reported this was one of the finest tourist facilities on the Lincoln Highway, and that car parking was available inside the room.  By the 1960s the name had changed from Ames Tourist Court to Ames Tourist Motel.  A 1964 advertisement touted, direct dialing, television, courtesy coffee, 24 hour service, ice, air conditioning, kitchenettes and reasonable rates.  Since 1966 the name has been Ames Motor LodgeLearn more about the Ames Tourist Court.


Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, May 15, 1926

A tourist court where a traveler can find hotel accommodations in a home-like atmosphere is nearing completion on East Lincoln way.  The court, designed and being constructed by J.W. Ogle, is a private undertaking, Mr. Ogle being the sole owner.  when completed, Ames will be equipped with one of the most modern and up-to-date tourist parks along Lincoln highway.

Mr. Ogle returned some time ago from a seven months automobile trip of the western states where he inspected the various tourist camps and makeshift arrangements that have been provided for transient visitors.  He is now installing all the little conveniences that "he missed on his trip."


The court consists of 30 cabins, each lathed and plastered, cement floors, space inside for cars, bed, table, chairs, gas cook stove, sink, city water and electric light, with a central building for recreation.  A spacious lobby made home-like with a large fireplace, writing and reading tables, radio, piano, and lounges, occupies part of the main building which is located in the center of the circle of cabins.

There will be a store in connection where supplies can be secured, two rest rooms with shower baths and lavatories and a large laundry room.


Eighteen of the cabins will be completed by the first of June and will be ready for use at that time, Mr. Ogle said today.  Believing that in future years, travel will become more common during the winter months, Mr. Ogle has planned the court to care for winter travel.  Stoves can be installed and the structure of each compartment is similar to that of residences.  Altho built for warmth, large windows, situated at advantageous points, allow sufficient ventilation for the hottest summer nights.

Arrangements are being made for locking the gates of the court at regular hours each night, thus eliminating the danger of theft of property.

A handy convenience that is often missed on long trips, is that of facilities for washing one's automobile.  With this in mind, Mr. Ogle has set aside a special part of the main building where water and washing equipment can be secured.  Situated as it is on the Jefferson and Lincoln highway, the court is expected to attract a large number of tourists.

Ames, IA May 16, 1938
Dearest Mother,

We arrived here at 8:30 last night safe and sound.  A very lively trip.  Anna and I slept in cabin next to Margaret.  Sure have nice beds.  We stopped at Art's uncle Elmer in Des Moines on way here.

It sure is lovely today.

Margaret, Anna and I are hoping LaVerne and Ruby can come and get us, so they can see how pretty Ames is.  I hope nothing will keep them from coming either Sunday or Monday.  I'm having fun with little Sandra.  Write when you have time.  Tell Mary [illegible] Donny and rest hello for me.

Your daughter,

Perry and Nancy Upchurch are the current owners of Ames Motor Lodge.  Perry reports that the abstract for the property at 318 East Lincoln Way shows that a campsite for travelers occupied the location before 1926.  He also says that when he remodeled a few years ago he discovered evidence of the garage openings that allowed autos to be parked in each housing unit.  The automobile parking portions had been remodeled to provide additional housing units.


1926 - 1935 - John Ogle
1936 - 1945 - William and Fern Neuman
1958 - 1961 - Stanley Hurless
1963 - 1964 - Mrs. Thelma Hawk
1965-1973 - Laurence and Imelda Bailey
1975 - 1976 - Patk and Twila Altenhofen
1977 - Robert and Eileen Lua
1978 - 1984 - John and Betty Libby
1985 - Rick and Cory Lee
1986 - 1989 Jan Calkins
1990 - 1992 - Tom Pritchard
1993-1997 Jan Calkins
1998-2000 - Joane Sly
John and Nancy Upchurch